- State Government to investigate 2,400 reported sheep mortalities on live export voyage in August 2017
Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan has instructed the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to investigate a high-mortality live export voyage in which 2,400 sheep are reported to have died.
Figures recently published by the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources show a mortality rate of 3.76 per cent on a voyage from Fremantle to Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in August 2017. This is well beyond the reportable mortality level of two per cent.
The sheep deaths may have occurred in high heat conditions, suggesting a seasonal correlation between heat and animal welfare.
Western Australia's Solicitor General has advised the Minister that the State Animal Welfare Act 2002 applies on board live export ships, and that WA's legal obligations are not inconsistent with Federal laws regarding live export.
The Minister has written to the Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources to suggest a collaborative approach to the investigation between the State and Federal agencies.
Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"Our legal advice is that WA's animal welfare laws apply on live export ships - as a government, we have an obligation to see those laws followed.
"We have real concerns over the impact of heat stress on Western Australian sheep on live export voyages and have made clear to industry that where there may have been breaches of the Animal Welfare Act, we have a responsibility to investigate.
"Maintaining public confidence in welfare standards in live export is absolutely vital to the ongoing sustainability of industry."
Minister's office - 6552 6200